Books I’ve Known And Loved

Female Explorer Extraordinaire
Female Explorer Extraordinaire

Who says women couldn’t do anything in the 19th century? Not Isabella L. Bird. Ladies and gents, listen up. Here’s a story full of spirit. Dear Miss Bird was a sickly soul, but despite her weakness, she charged ahead endeavoring to see the world and write about it. And so she did.

As simple as that. She made choices. Didn’t expect others to treat her in a particular way, but noted when people treated her kindly. First she went to Australia, then China and finally to Colorado where she gifted future generations a marvelous look into one woman’s fearlessness and heroic curiosity.


How many of us modern girls would throw our cares to the wind, travel alone or with strange men into deep mountain ravines and sleep in insect infested hovels for fun? How many of us would climb such treacherous mountains on horseback and suffer being thrown and tumbled over by said horse?

Isabella refused to ride side-saddle, yet threatened to sue a newspaper when a writer said she dressed like a man (which she most definitely DID NOT!). She fell for a famous handsome bad boy “Rocky Mountain Jim” who just recently lost his eye to a grizzly and despite his bad reputation quoted poetry and seemed bewitched by this strange English lady who found him tucked in a little valley of the mountains.

Their romance was ill-fated and only a year after she left him in his frosty mountain solitude he was shot dead.


Do you like sunsets? Do you like trying to describe them? I get about as far as saying, “It was a pink sunset . . .”  But not Isabella. Some people are born to write about natural things in such a way that the reader feels nearly as in awe as the writer (and without photographs!).

When we bemoan our boring lives or how fate has made us women or how life keeps throwing us curve balls we need heroines like Miss Bird. She shows us from her far distant time that we hold the key to our adventurous lives. God gives us the mountains and the sunsets, the tumbling horses and the people we come across on our travels, but He lets us decide how we’re going to handle it all. Isabella made do and then some. She didn’t hate men for being men and didn’t hate being a woman. She was who she was and that was all she needed.

So let’s be happy in our skins today. Men and women alike–I love you. Now off you go! Have an adventure or read this book.

16 responses to “Books I’ve Known And Loved”

  1. Growing up reading stories about Kit Carson and other frontiersmen was always a great adventure, even if the storyteller exaggerated some of the tales. When I was older, I read about the frontier ladies, and when you compare their daily life to pictures of them when they were barely 40 … well, they had sand, but life on the plains took its toll, too. They never complained about how hard life was, or about bad breaks. One story I read about was a woman who held down the home front while here husband went off to purchase livestock. She was on her own while he was gone, but then, he never came back; no one ever knew what happened to him. Hard to imagine going through life suffering a loss like that, and having no closure. It is hard to imagine being alone in the middle of nowhere and breaking a leg or an arm. You either deal with it, or perish. We owe these women our interest and our respect.


  2. I enjoy how you find and bring to our attention things like this – very interesting!

    Speaking of interesting, I began reading your book last week and very much like it. I will be mentioning it on Wednesday on my blog in a new weekly feature I am starting.


    • Oops. I put a heart in my comment, but it disappeared. I read an excerpt from this book a while back and really enjoyed it.


      • How do you put hearts in? I didn’t know that could be done. I like it. Anyway, the book has so many fun little anecdotes–sad ones too. She visiting with a young happy couple and their Swiss helper who were starting a ranch. She found later that the wife died in childbirth and the farmer took the Swiss girl as he new wife and they left the Rocky Mountains for more hospitable climes.

        Thanks for stopping by.



  3. Someone lent me this book several years ago. I admit that I looked at the cover and judged it to be one of those books that is a good story, but poorly written. Boy, was I wrong! I could hardly put it down!

    So glad you featured this book on your blog. It deserves more attention.


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